Moscow, November 28, Interfax - Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria has written a letter to Yepifaniy Dumenko, leader of the non-canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine, calling him "a very dear and desired brother and co-servant of our humility."
In the letter, which was quoted by the OCU website, the head of the Alexandria church "kisses and gladly celebrates" Yepifaniy on his election.
"I was very glad to receive brotherly letters from your loved beatitude, from which we learned about the election and enthronement on the famous Throne of the Church of Kiev and all Ukraine, which has just received autocephaly," Patriarch Theodoros said almost a year after Yepifaniy' election as head of the OCU.
The patriarch of Alexandria expresses "with all his soul" his approval of this election, mentioning the "sacrificing heart" of the head of the OCU and congratulates Yepifaniy "with a glad heart and a kiss in Christ."
According to earlier reports, Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and the archbishops of the Churches of Alexandria and Cyprus were given envelopes following a liturgy service in Limassol, Cyprus, where Patriarch Theodoros mentioned the head of the OCU Yepifaniy; the envelopes contained letters with pictures of Theodoros and Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev, a fragment of the fresco Kiss of Judas, and the text "Onufry is a metropolitan, Yepifaniy is a schismatic, and Theodoros is a Judas."
The patriarch of Alexandria is second in honorific rank after the Constantinople patriarch among representatives of local Orthodox Churches. Until recently, Patriarch Theodoros was known as one of the main defenders of canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine.
The OCU was created in December 2018 with assistance from the Constantinople Patriarchate and the administration of Ukraine, which was then led by Pyotr Poroshenko.